Leave the Past Behind and Look to the Future

It's time for the recovering addict and his family to turn the corner for good. Although it may seem impossible to leave the past behind, it's necessary for recovery.

Leaving the past behind is not about forgetting. Forgetting what one has experienced negates and disrespects what one learned from the experience. Memories also serve to reinforce the need to move into a future of recovery. Memories of the past pain, difficult consequences, lost relationships, and poor health can motivate one to avoid repetition.

Leaving the past behind implies that it has lost its power to influence the future in a negative way. Past mistakes are no longer the model or pattern for future behavior. The recovering addict's perception of herself is no longer dependent on past problems and mistakes. She is free to grow and mature into the person she desires to become.

Forgiveness provides the freedom to move into the future. For the recovering addict, forgiveness must be both requested and received. The recovering addict must ask for forgiveness from those he's damaged through his addictions. He must also ask for forgiveness from himself.

Asking for forgiveness is not enough — it's only half of the equation. Receiving forgiveness from others and oneself may be the most difficult part of this interaction. The recovering addict may feel unworthy, undeserving, and ashamed. Hanging onto these negative feelings will keep him trapped between the past and the future.

Fact

Recovery from addictions is possible! The recovering addict must resist all input that says otherwise. Hope and a future are based on the belief that recovery can be achieved with hard work and perseverance. Recovery will change the addict's life in ways she never thought possible. Invite recovery and welcome it wholeheartedly when it arrives!

Acceptance of forgiveness is necessary to prepare the recovering addict for future growth. To be forgiven is a gift to be gratefully welcomed. To look forward to the future is to envision possibilities and to work at making those possibilities reality. No one knows what challenges the future may present.

However, the recovering addict has gained knowledge, skills, and maturity through her recovery efforts. Those assets will provide her with the confidence and ability to handle future challenges. It is very important that the recovering addict give herself permission to enjoy the future, to look forward to it, and to share it willingly with others. Recovery is a blessed event and achievement that deserves celebration!

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